What is a marketing strategy? I like to define it as «a process that allows you to concentrate your limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase your visibility, sales and income.»
For example, let’s say you have the goal to enroll 3 new clients within the next 30 days. You should then focus your time, energy and resources ONLY on the necessary tasks that will allow you to reach that goal, and NOTHING else!
How can you ensure that your marketing plan will yield the results that you seek? By making sure to:
• Identify the needs of your ideal client and how you’ll address them.
• Focus on specific marketing strategies to help you achieve your goals
Identify the needs of your target market
Having a service-based business is ALL about solving the problems your target market is struggling with. To do that, you need to be clear about what they need and what you can do to eliminate their challenges.
For example, if you are a personal trainer, connect with what your prospects really need. It may be their goal to lose weight, build strength, increase flexibility or simply look better in the mirror.
If you are an image consultant, what do your prospects really want? Perhaps they want to know: 1) how to make a great first impression 2) how to build confidence with a wardrobe 3) how to dress for any occasion.
Also, you need to be able to identify the source of the problem. As a personal trainer, what caused your client to gain weight? Is it over eating, a health problem, or sheer neglect? The image consultant may find that the true lack of confidence lies in her client wearing hand-me-downs and never having the opportunity to choose her own clothes when growing up.
When you can identify your potential clients’ needs along with the trigger point that motivates them to seek your help, the next step in your marketing strategy becomes easier to implement. All you have to do is show up in the places where they look for you, address the trigger point and deliver the solution in a format in which they will best consume it.
Focus on specific marketing techniques
How does your target market consume information? As a marketing consultant, 60% of my work is done via the telephone. 40% is done face to face. Also, I help my clients and my audience by providing a variety of options for them to learn from me in different formats. It is common for me to share information through:
• Articles on the Internet and in print publications
• Social media platforms
• Speaking at events
Understand I didn’t start out with these all at once. I actually started with networking, blogging and offering teleseminars. Over time we added in the others. You can model similar strategies with your business.
Do your research to find out where and how your audience is talking about the solutions you offer. Then determine which methods I mentioned above (or others) will best allow you to connect with the people you can do your best work with. Master one method and then move on to the next.
Online Marketing Strategies
Prospects WILL go online looking for information about your business. So it’s important that you control what they find. All paths in the online marketing world lead to these three steps:
1. Getting traffic to your site
2. Capturing the visitor’s name and email address
3. Staying in touch to develop a relationship and present appropriate offers for products and services.
Whatever you choose to do to market your business online, make sure it supports this three-pronged approach. If the platform, tool or methodology doesn’t support this effort, don’t waste your time on it.
Offline Marketing Strategies
There is plenty of opportunity to grow your business online, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore tried and true marketing strategies offline.
Where do you start? Consider getting actively involved in a networking group that caters to your ideal client. You can also pursue speaking opportunities within these groups as well as trade organizations and associations. Identify who else is offering complementary services to your target market and develop referral relationships with those folks. You can send targeted direct mail campaigns to pre-qualified prospects and give them an irresistible offer to «taste» your services. You can always ask past and present clients for referrals.
There are a lot of strategies to choose from. Whichever you choose to pursue depends entirely on the S.M.A.R.T. goals you’ve set for yourself and your business.